Prepared for battle!
I set off October 11th for Raleigh to hunt the NC Eastern Zone with my muzzleloader. I got a taste of it when I hunted the morning of the 9th in the Western Zone up at South Mountains Gamelands in Rutherford County and was ready to get to a more familiar place with a better deer population. I had made up my mind the night before that I would hunt where I shot a 9 point on Butner-Falls of Nuese Gamelands back in 2009 so when I saw a small buck laying in the ditch not far from the parking area I knew they had been moving and felt good about my chances.
Nature can be cruel and it is indeed a dog-eat-dog world out in the wilds. Unfortunately for Barred Owls now, the function known as survival of the fittest is about to not be left up to their species but instead to the US Government. In the hunting regulated society we have grown up in (which is a good thing considering how things used to be) it has been drilled into our heads that birds of prey are not to be messed with, toting jail time and big fines if you happen to shoot one. Leave it to government officials to take it upon themselves to do away with this stipulation when it comes to trying to bring back the Spotted Owl.
Their proposal as touched on here in Outdoor Life has a component in it to selectively harvest Barred Owls because of the impact they have on Spotted Owls. I know it may seem hypocritical to be upset about the above proposal while yelling at the top of my lungs that hunters need to be utilized as a natural predator in the control of wildlife populations as well as pat ourselves on the back for the role we play in bringing back populations from the brink with sound wildlife management and the monies from us used to support such management plans. And I know that controlling predator populations is also needed in order to insure a proper balance in the predator-prey ratio. The difference in this, in my opinion, is that we are talking about two predators who directly compete for food and resources, using the same, solitary hunting style while utilizing the same habitat. Is hunting one to save the other needed in this situation or would helping to identify and protect as much suitable habitat be the bigger help? I tend to lean towards the latter as you'll always have that competition between species even with a decrease in the larger population. And whose to say that selective hunting of the Barred Owl doesn't put us right back in this situation years down the road, with the Spotted Owl population needing to be reduced to help the Barred Owl.
This is a flawed policy proposal in my opinion as we should control what we directly can, i.e. habitat conservation, to save the Spotted Owl instead of relying on the removal of another native, competing species. Agree? Disagree? Have another idea on helping the Spotted Owl regain population? Let it all come out by leaving a comment!
Work has kept Paul busy and I've been slammed with work and trying to get the building process started on my home, but we haven't forgotten about this place, our outlet to sharing the outdoors with you and everyone else on the internet. To get us back into the swing of things, and since it's the first of the month, it is about time I got around to posting the monthly calendar for what you can see happening in the water and woods of North Carolina. So courtesy of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation check out the following this month:
February 1: Spring waterfowl migrations begin.
February 2: Groundhogs are still hibernating, so you probably won't see one out seeking its shadow (though it is possible on a warm day).
February 3: Atlantic sturgeon are migrating to their upriver spawning areas.
February 4: Youth Waterfowl Day (Take a kid hunting)
February 6: The Neuse River waterdog, a large, permanently aquatic salamander found only in the Neuse and Tar river systems, is most readily encountered during this time of year.
February 11: Gray squirrel litters are born.
February 14: VALENTINES DAY!!!!
February 15: Spotted and mole salamanders breed in temporary woodland pools with the first heavy rains.
February 16: Wood ducks are seeking out nest sites.
February 17: Rainbow trout are spawning.
February 21: Four-toed salamanders begin nesting. These uncommon amphibians conceal their eggs in moss hummocks or sedge tussocks around temporary pools, usually remaining with the eggs until they hatch.
February 23: Gopher frogs begin breeding in the Coastal Plain and Sandhills.
February 26: American toads begin calling in the Piedmont.
February 27: Brook trout eggs are hatching.
February 28: Pickerel frogs are breeding.
February 29: Hunting season ends for Bobcat, Crow, Quail, Rabbit, and both Gray and Red squirrel.
A day late, and, well, just a day later than I wanted to get this posted (though I am a few dollars short since payday is still a week away!). It's the beginning of a new month and you know what that means: Wildlife calendar time! Again, forum member Crash on NC Hunt and Fish has posted up the monthly calendar put out by the North Carolina Wildlife Federation and here is is for everyone to enjoy.
Oct. 1: Eastern Muzzleloader deer season opens
Oct. 1: Sea duck season opens
Oct. 1: Controlled hunting preserves open
Oct. 1: Delayed-Harvest Trout Waters Open.
Oct. 2: Last loggerhead sea turtle nests are hatching.
Oct. 3: Western Muzzleloader deer season begins
Oct. 3: Chimney swifts are leaving.
Oct. 4: Peak surface activity for hognose snakes.
Oct. 5-8: Duck, Merganser and Coot season is open.
Oct. 5-15: Dark Goose season open
Oct. 10: Tail end of migration peak for many shorebird species.
Oct. 10-16: National Wildlife Refuge Week.
Oct. 11: Ruby-throated hummingbirds are leaving for Central and South America. Leave your feeders up for potential sightings of unusual winter birds.
Oct. 15: Eastern Gun deer season begins
Oct. 15: Mud turtles and chicken turtles begin hibernation. Unlike most aquatic turtles, these species usually leave their ponds to hibernate on land.
Oct. 16: Red bats are mating.
Oct. 17: Western Bear season opens
Oct. 17: Bobcat, Squirrel, Ruffed Grouse, Raccoon and Opossum seasons begins.
Oct. 19: Light Goose season open
Oct. 23: Acorns are mature for most oak species.
Oct. 25: Persimmons are ripe.
Oct. 29: Central Deer Muzzleloader season begins
Another month, another calendar for wildlife happenings in good ol' North Carolina courtesy of Crash on NCHuntandFish.com as well as the NC Wildlife Federation. Without further ado, here we go:
September 1: Canada Goose season opens.
September 3: Dove season opens.
September 4: Copperheads give birth.
September 9: Wild muscadine grapes are ripe.
September 10: Peak flight periods for some common and uncommon butterflies, including Gulf fritillary; cloudless sulphur; little yellow; and Aaron's, Dion, and Yehl skippers.
September 12: Whip-poor-wills and chuckwill's widows are leaving.
September 14: September is an excellent butter fly month. Migrating monarchs can be particularly spectacular. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a good area for monarch watching, and Tunnel Gap at milepost 415.6 is an especially good spot. In the outer Coastal Plain, look for the queen a close relative of the monarch. Rare in our area, it breeds farther south but occasionally migrates northward along our coast.
September 21: Hawk migration peaks. Mahogany Rock in Doughton Park along the Blue Ridge Parkway is a particularly good spot to view thousands of broad-winged hawks as well as other species.
September 27: Most whitetail fawns have lost their spots.
September 28: Bog turtle nests have hatched.
September 29: Expect first frosts in the mountains. Carolina mantids are depositing their oothecae (egg clusters).
Once again it's that time of the month when "Crash" of NC Hunt and Fish posts up the monthly calendar he receives from the North Carolina Wildlife Federation. So what's happening in the wildlife world this month? Let's take a look!
August 2: Milkweeds are in bloom.
August 11: Many snake eggs are hatching.
August 13: 1st annual NCH&F ATV get together - Busco Beach, Goldsboro
August 15: Timber rattlesnakes are mating. Although many of our snakes breed in spring, these and other pit vipers may also do so in late summer.
August 16: Peak migration for many shorebird species along the coast.
August 21: Peak hatching for loggerhead sea turtle nests.
August 27: NCH&F Fall Get Together
August 27: Governor's Conservation Achievement Awards Banquet and NCWF Annual Meeting
August 28: Gray squirrels are bearing their fall litters.
This comes compliments of board member Crash on the NC Hunt and Fish forums. At the start of every month, he posts up a short calendar that he recieves in an email newsletter from the North Carolina Wildlife Federation for what to expect in the coming days in the outdoor world. I've always found this interesting and decided I would share with you from now on what he writes once the first of the month comes around (even though he is a UNC fan - big time!). So without further ado, here is the outdoor calendar for July for all you North Carolinians:
July 1: Black skimmers are nesting on some of our more remote beaches and barrier islands.
July 4: Independence Day
July 5: Blackberries are ripe.
July 6: Bobwhite eggs are hatching.
July 7: Summer runs of white perch make for good fishing on the Chowan River.
July 8: Bog turtles are nesting in mountain and foothill wetlands. Unlike most turtles, this rare species usually does not excavate a nest in soil, but instead conceals its small egg clutch in moss or a sedge clump.
July 10: On hot, humid afternoons, watch and listen for the impressive dives and "boom displays" of the common nighthawk.
July 15: American goldfinches are nesting. Dependent on mature thistles for food and nesting material, these colorful finches and are among our latest nesters, raising only one brood each year.
July 16: Peak flight period for the giant swallowtail -our largest butterfly.
July 16: Chapel Hill Ducks Unlimited "DownEast Seafood Feast" (see waterfowl forum for info)
July 17: Black bear mating peaks.
July 21: Jewelweed, black-eyed Susan, and Joe-pye weed are in bloom.
July 22: Our largest beetle and heaviest insect- the eastern Hercules beetle-is flying. Look for adults around lights at night.
July 23: Indian pipe is in bloom.
July 26: Royal walnut moths and imperial moths are flying.
July 27: Garter snakes, brown snakes, and earth snakes are giving birth.
July 30: Fence lizard eggs are hatching.
July 31: Turk's-cap and Michaux's lilies are in bloom.
Sometimes the great ideas that we have just need something to bring them to the forefront. The Inside Out team will be putting our talents to work and sharing our knowledge and love of the outdoors with anyone who wants to listen.
Curran's Outdoor Adventures
GoBlog (Get Outdoors)
Grants Blog (Growing Deer TV)
Hunt Like Your Hungry
inFOCUS (Campbell Cameras)
inMotion (Heartland Bowhunter)
Make It Happen Outdoors
Taking a Walk on the Wild Side
The Rivah Blog
The Will to Hunt
Wired to Hunt